13 Ways 2005's Batman Begins Beat Arkham Knight To The Punch
Saturday, September 26 is Batman day, which as good a excuse as any to share this strange feature which showcases the surprising ways in which the 2005 licensed Batman Begins games did a lot of things Batman: Arkham Knight would 10 years later.
2005's Batman Begins video game tie-in of the same name is a mostly forgettable licensed game, but playing Batman: Arkham Knight recently made me recall some of its gameplay and color it in a prescient light. Batman Begins may not have executed on its mechanics as well as any of the recent Batman games, but it had the right ideas – ideas that Arkham would later perfect.
Many of these mechanics were not invented by Batman Begins or the Arkham series, but they feel very similar when placed side by side.
In both Begins and Arkham, stealth is important and as frequent as the normal fistfight. Both Batmen crouch in a similar position and both are able to move in that crouched position without losing much momentum.
As I referenced above, Batman did not invent the one-button stealth takedown, but they feel and look very similar in these two games. In the crouched position, moving behind an enemy opens a prompt, and a flashy takedown animation occurs. Some of the animations are even similar between the two games.
Inciting fear and watching enemy heartbeats
Begins' big innovation in 2005 was the way Batman could change the temperament of his opponents by scaring the crap out of them. You did this by sticking to the ceilings and making things explode or mysteriously move while you stayed out of sight. If your opponents got too scared, they would start acting erratically or drop their guns. Arkham would do this again much later, and even track the heart-rate of your enemies as an indicator of their current level of fear in the same way.
Scarecrow toxin affecting your perception
Batman struggling with Scarecrow's fear toxin is an important part of the Arkham series, and on a few occasions, Begins would similarly change the players' perception when they were affected by the gas. You also get a chance to see how the enemies perceive Batman while affected by the gas, something we would see again later with Arkham.
Take out the guns first
Batman isn't a super human, and guns will kill him. This is the case in every Batman story, and Begins is no different. In both Begins and Arkham, your radar specifically identifies which enemies have guns and who left theirs at home. Going after the guns first is a requirement for survival.
Counters aren't as big a part of Begins as they are in the Arkham games, but it's an option in combat and always a good tactic.
The final takedown is a flashy one
When you take on a group of enemies in Arkham, you always know you've cleared the room when the camera zooms in, slows down, and focuses on the final gruesome takedown. Begins doesn't have the same level of flash, but the camera does take up a new position to highlight your accomplishment for the final blow.
For more surprising similarities, head to page two.
Batman Begins (2005)
Batman: Arkham Knight (2015)
Both Batmen in both games interrogate when necessary, and oddly, both like to hold their victims up in the air by their neck.
The grappling hook has, understandably, appeared in just about every Batman video game. Its general inclusion isn't so interesting as much as the way it is used. In both games, Batman uses it to stick to the ceilings and stay out of sight.
Hacking with a hacking tool
Batman always has a collection of tools in all of his games, but it is surprising to see Batman using a special tool to hack with the help of a minigame in both games.
It's well know by Gotham City's contractors that all of the vents in all of the buildings must provide ample room for a large muscular man to explore them. This is how Gotham City has always been built, and it will apparently never change.
Under the enemy's feet
Along with ample space for air to travel through vents, Gotham – in any of Batman's universes – also likes to have ample area underfoot so large muscular men can use them to stay out of site.
It took the Arkham games six years to include a playable Batmobile, but Begins had one right out of the gate. Both Arkham and Begins' Batmobile are based on the tumbler from Chistopher Nolan's trilogy, and both are particularly destructive. Taking a cue from the Burnout series, whenever you take out an enemy at full speed in either game, the camera slows down to show the destruction. Both games also feature an identical lock-on missile systems necessary for taking out larger vehicles.
Left: Batman Arkham Knight (2015), Right: Batman Begins (2005)
Some other similarities are less surprising, like plot overlap (Arkham Knight is influenced by Christopher Nolan's Batman in the same way it is influenced by all Batman stories) and the way Batman can't seem to get off the phone with Alfred. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that a pair of games starring Batman would be similar, but in this case it seems to extend beyond just a use of the same character.